Posts belonging to Category Time Management Tips

How Will Your Week Be This Week? Four Tips For You

choosingHow will your week go this week?

Will it be fun or constructive or profitable or pleasurable?  How do you know?

Everyone knows that no two weeks are identical.  Some pleasures and some problems may exist through several weeks or months but the results of each week are quite different.  We just never know what is lurking in the next minute, hour or day – it’s a big surprise every single day we awaken and begin living the day.

Are we puppets?

To some extent we are.  There really is no way to predict what will happen to us during any particular 24 hours no matter how organized we are, no matter what great time management system we use and no matter how we “think” we control what happens in our world.


Because we simply cannot control everything in the world.  We can’t control other people.  People and events unfold in their own time and space.  Some people feel they can control people and events and their power is omnipotent.  Actually, it’s very limited.  They create a tiny sphere in which they have the illusion that they are “in charge”.  They are not.  No matter how long someone has been “in charge”, it’s finite and limited.

How can you make your week the best it can be?

Control what you can.  Calm down, smile and relax.

Watching the Masters this week-end, one young player seemed as though he was just having a game with his buddies during the four days of the competition.  On the last day, when the pressure was the most intense to win, the “wheels fell off” as they so often do in sports.  A sure thing can turn sour very easily.

The minute that tension is uncontrolled, it’ll “get you”!  Things you wouldn’t normally say or do, you say and do.  Like this young man, his weakness showed up as his mind let go of all it had learned and practiced during the weeks and months prior to the Masters.  A tendency towards directing a particular stroke showed up.  A massive lead disintigrated in minutes.  Once the negative mind takes over, the game is lost.

4 things you can practice every day, all day long to keep you on top of your game:

a)  take 3 deep breaths several times a day – don’t let tension build up. Put a recurring event in your electronic calendar to remind you every half hour.

b)  exercise every minute you can – take the stairs instead of the elevator, take your coffee “for a walk”, walk for 10 minutes at lunch

c)  have a picture on your desktop or on your wall or both which reminds you of relaxation – a beach you love, a mountain you hike all the time, your boat, a tent or campfire, etc.  Change the pictures often so you don’t stop “seeing them”.  Our mind gets used to something and we don’t notice it anymore.

d)  control the thing you can control – your mind.  Check your thoughts several times a day – how?  By what you’re feeling.  If you’re feeling dark and somber, your thoughts are negative.  If you’re feeling light and airy, your thoughts are positive.  Stay on the positive side – you can see so much more clearly from that vantage point!

Relaxation takes practice.  Tension no so much.

Little things you do consistently throughout the day, every day, will help you make your week the best it can be no matter what happens.

Lorraine Arams


Our Biases Cost Us Dearly

My very favorite YouTube video (if you want to see it just click here) inspires.

Every time life throws me another curve, my spirit is lifted.  Sometimes, I’ve replayed this video for an hour to fill me up with what I need to get up and go again.  Life has been quite tough for a while as I face challenges I never dreamed I would ever face.

Most importantly, it’s a lesson in our human psyche.  For any of us who have ever experienced discrimination because of others’ biases, this video shows us in full color the cost of bias.

In color for all to see . . .

A real live example of age and physical appearance biases.  We all lost for a very long time because she didn’t “fit” the false belief that a person has to be slim, gorgeous,  and polished with flawless skin to have talent.

Real looking people have real talent too!

The opinions were swift to show . . .

There she stood.  Ridiculed when she told of her dream.  How dare she have a dream like that at her age and with those “looks”!  They laughed.

She ignored their jeers – she probably had heard them her whole life.

Little did they know that they were just about to have an experience of a lifetime – coming face-to-face with the darkest parts of themselves in the form of biases – – talent isn’t wrapped in slim, current standards of beauty – talent comes in many unexpected forms.  Could they ever know what was about to hit them?


The Aftermath . . .

How many in that audience actually went home and thought about how they themselves had reacted that day and changed?  How many people changed?  How many people started to address their biases?

She just didn’t sing.  She held up a mirror to society’s phoniness!  36 years to hold on to a dream – the tenacity, the strength, the endurance and the dedication is beyond what most of us would ever even think of giving any goal!

“I’m going to make that audience rock” , she said – do you think she did?  She made them rock on the ouside and the inside!  I took only a couple of bars and they were on their feet – shocked!  She reached down into their souls – she does it to me every single time I view this video.

“I Dreamed a Dream” – she did for 36 years!  How many of us would have that courage, that fortitude?  Yet, they laughed.

A major lesson can be learned by us all . . .

I hope that parents who have children bullied at school will show this inspirational video.

I hope those of you who are discouraged because your life has had a turn for the worse for a very long time, take inspiration and courage from this individual who waited so long to share her talent with the rest of us.

A nice, plain lady with an extraordinary talent.  How was that talent missed all these years?

Our biases.

In your workplace and at home, look for the talent – nurture it, make it blossom and enjoy the gift.  The right talent most often is not in a nice little package with the right wrapping, ribbons and colors – sometimes, the right talent comes from a place we wouldn’t expect.

I had  a situation like this in the workplace.  A wonderful human being.  All people could see was that she was overweight.  The bias was obvious.  She worked hard and was very smart.  She was willing to do what it took to move ahead in her career.

I gave her chances.  She shone.  Eventually, she rose from clerk to senior assistant in the head office.  Then, in private industry, she became a manager – her bosses loved her because she delivered excellent work and was dedicated.

What would have happened to her if we hadn’t met?  Would she still be a clerk because no one gave her a chance?

When employers complain they can’t find good help, they should look in the mirror first.  What is it in themselves, as an employer, that is not reaching and hiring the type of people to fill the “good people” criteria.  If you an employer doesn’t have good people, it’s their fault, not the employees’ – a lesson I learned the hard wayLook at biases first and foremost.

In our lives in general, when we complain we cannot find good friends or connect with good people, look around – you may be blind because of your biases.  Where are your biases:  age, body size, type of dress, hair do, mannerisms, race, appearance, height, language – so many reasons for biases, none valid.

Eliminate your biases – look for the gifts – you might be surprised!  A diamond never comes out of the ground polished!

Lorraine Arams

You Need a Break – Even from the Things You Love

You need a break even when you love something.

The Set Up

I never really understood this concept until recently.  Some part of me knew it but now I believe it.  It’s internalized deeply today like never before.

I love to work.  I love the constant challenges work brings on a daily basis – it’s mentally stimulating to constantly face challenges and find resolutions or accomplish a task or complete a project successfully.  Success is addictive.  I get quite caught up in accomplishing more and more.

I love to learn too so the combination of learning continuously and applying what I learn is a thrill when it works.  On the other hand, when it doesn’t work, I find out why and I’ve learned something that way too.


The Change

Recently, an unexpected opportunity came up.  My first impulse was to refuse.  Then, I changed my mind.  I was in the middle of a project and felt I just couldn’t leave it.  I did.

And I’m so glad I did!

There is nothing like peace, quiet and nature to recharge me – the more trees, water and animals, the better – being in that kind of environment of beauty and on-going regeneration is energizing.

In the city, we simply don’t realize how much noise we are constantly subjected to day and night.  Even when we think it’ll be a quiet night, something happens.  We go to work and there’s noise – people talking, street working equipment, trucks, cars, hoists, screams and some of us have a continuous stream of “noise” coming from our electronic gadgets – the body and mind is under constant siege.

Today, I am grateful for that break.  I feel refreshed, my creativity has returned full force and I am able to complete parts of the project at lightning speed.  My body feels terrific and my mind is alert and fresh.  Problems are fun again.

We simply don’t realize . . .

Stress creeps up on us.  We don’t realize the effects of stress.  Stress comes from many places in our lives, and it all piles up.  Eventually, like an overloaded piece of machinery, our performance slows, our mind gets cluttered and things move along much more slowly despite exercising, watching our diet and sleeping.


It’s Critical to Find a Place for Rejuvenation

Not everyone rejuvenates the same way.  However, I would venture to say that being surrounded by nature – trees, water and animals – is for everyone.  It reconnects us with our essence and allows us to breath good air.

In the city, the air is filled with chemicals and fumes – our lungs work hard.  In nature, your whole body drinks in the oxygen like a sponge and all of a sudden we have more energy – lots more energy!  In an instant, our body feels better.  Our mind seems clearer.  Food tastes better and we don’t need much of it to feel very satisfied.  Curiosity returns and engagement with people is so pleasant.

A break every couple of months – for a few days – I think is just the right thing to do for the health of your whole being and your whole life – and that message comes from a workaholic!

As a convert, I will put it in my calendar to schedule a few days off in nature every couple of months.  The return on investment is priceless!


The Recipe

You don’t have to believe me – experience it – leave all your electronic gadgets off for a few days – yes, your cell phone too – and give yourself the luxury of a total break (no sneaking out at night to check your email).  Don’t take work with you either and don’t give anyone the number of the place you will be staying at either – no one from the office or your home can reach you.  Take a book with you you’ve always wanted to read and a journal to jot down all of your thoughts and your dreams.  Walk a lot.  Resist going home after two days.  Stay a full five days away from everything including tv and computers.  Just connect with what’s around you.  It’s a simple but difficult process for many in this wild, wild world!  You’ll be glad you too the time for some “nature” therapy!

Lorraine Arams



Why Do We Hate Our Work So?

Hard work – I hear work referred to constantly as “hard”!  Is it?

Are we obsessed?  Do we think that somehow if we refer to our work as hard that it makes us somehow more special than if we referred to our work as fun?

I think so.  Why else would we condition ourselves and tell others how hard our work is?

Does anyone like anything that is continuously hard?  I don’t think so.  Is it any surprise then that 85% of the people hate their jobs?

Thinking about work

We’re thinking about our work and our jobs the wrong way around.  We think of them as austere – hard –

  • go to work and “be professional” – who defines “professional”?  Often people say the word to express to you that they don’t like something you said or did and has nothing to do with whether it was “professional” or not!
  • Show up on time and stay late – that’s encouraging!  Really makes people want to do their best work?!?
  • Don’t laugh!  Heaven forbid there should be any fun at work!
  • Don’t have fun!  Oh, no – fun and laughter in the workplace – how repulsive!  It’s serious business you know – serious about what?
  • Your boss is out to get you – the big meanie!
  • Office politics – what are there?  Does anyone really know?  Are office politics just a mean game by people who love to manipulate?
  • Don’t show emotion!  Oh, no!  An emotion – heavens – a human showing emotion!  What have we come to!

If someone came from another world and you described work in these terms, do you think they’d hurry and get a job?

Only if they were insane!

We are!

We believe this nonsense right from the start.  As we evolve into management, we bring these beliefs with us.  Isn’t it about time to change and make the workplace a friendly rather than hostile environment?

Can it be different?

Yes, you can work and have fun!  You can laugh! You can show emotion and still make a profit!  All human things in the workplace are possible – it’s whether or not management is willing to work with people or not.  It’s so much easier to give orders.  It is so much more complex to actually create a humane atmosphere at work.

The bonus:  people stop thinking of their workplace as a hostile environment and the “work family” is born with all its warts and beauty.

How Do I Know?

I’ve lived both worlds of work.  I can tell you that the humane place is more complex but more gets done with greater efficiency and effectiveness than the obedience model.

I learned to manage that way because I felt there was a better way and there was.  My superiors were shocked to hear the laughter and experience the high levels of productivity and involvement.  My superiors were shocked by the tears that flowed when I left.  They could have done the same but they couldn’t bring themselves to do the work it takes to get to that point.  Perhaps they didn’t know how.

If you want your workplace to be a place where your employees want to show up, contact me.  I’ll show you how.  My consultancy is all about making your operations effective and efficient but fun and profitable.  I’m on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – just type in my name – you’ll find me – and send me a message or comment on this blog.

Lorraine Arams


The ONLY – A Lesson in Success

What’s The Only?

The Only used to be a very tiny little restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada which was known far and wide.


It’s a lesson in success:  Provide a good product at a good price with energy, enthusiasm and a smile!  Create “an experience” every single time.   They’ll pack in!

Was it a dump?

The Only may have been considered to be a “dump” by some.  But the diamonds, rubies and gold which shone on some people would tell a different story. They came too – the rich.

On the other hand, the person sitting on the next stool could be someone quite poor.  The rich and the poor mingled every single night, 7 days a week at this little “steamer”.  There was no snobbery – everyone conversed with everyone else – it was the name of the game.

It was very tiny – counters with stools and a couple of tables against the wall.  There was always a waiting line – people crowded at the door like sardines waiting for someone to leave.  The shouts of glee when someone finally got a seat!

The Chinese cooks cooked right in front of the counters – big black woks, steaming away till the last customer was out the door – in the wee, wee hours of the morning – clang, bang, sizzle . . .

The menu was small – very small – clams, mussels, fresh fish, a few noodles and vegetables – that’s it.  But everything was clean and fresh – that’s one of the main attractions – fresh shellfish, fresh vegetables and cooked fresh – right there, right now.

There was no waiter or waitress – just cooks – they took your order – no 1, 2, 3, 4, . . . ..  Done.  In minutes, you had your order!  Sumptuous, flavorful – the wafts of onion and garlic were constant and made those waiting drool in anticipation!

People came back for more – from Toronto, New York, Europe – all over the world – The Only was the place to go!  The word was:  if you didn’t go to The Only, you really missed something special!

What happened?

There are still a few holes in the wall like The Only.  The Only itself succumbed to massive development projects in downtown Vancouver.  Sometimes change is not always what it is cracked up to be!

People still talk about The Only today.  It has never been duplicated.  And yet . . . what a simple and effective business model – fresh food cooked fresh with lots of energy and enthusiasm at a good price and a smile welcoming everyone – rich and poor – and each person was treated the same.  It was an experience!  Everyone was made to feel as though they were part of the scene!

You got to know the names of the cooks.  They spoke very little English but were always friendly and fast. You felt “at home”.

Lorraine Arams

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